University of Calgary

Paul Barclay

  • Professor

Research Areas

  • Quantum nanophotonics
  • Solid state quantum optics
  • Quantum sensing
  • Diamond photonics
  • Cavity optomechanics

Research Interests

Barclay lab research develops nanophotonic devices for quantum technologies: sensors with unprecedented performance, memories for building a quantum internet, and switches to route photons in quantum networks. To create these novel technologies, group members have become leaders in both the invention of nanofabrication techniques and the demonstration of quantum nanophotonic experiments.

Examples of recent research projects include:

Diamond quantum photonic devices
Spin qubits in diamond are unrivaled in their ability to store quantum information at room temperature. Photonic devices fabricated from diamond are needed to link these qubits for quantum computing and communication technologies.

Diamond optomechanics
Building on the fabrication innovations described above, the Barclay lab developed the field of diamond optomechanics: using light to manipulate mechanical resonators fabricated from diamond.
Diamond is arguably the ultimate material for optomechanical devices. The Barclay lab's high quality diamond devices have opened the door to new experiments in optomechanical information processing.

The Barclay lab recently demonstrated optomechanical control of diamond spin qubit quantum memories. This entirely new approach for connecting light to diamond spins bridges a gap between two fields for the first time.

Nanoscale optomechanical sensors
The ability of optomechanical devices to precisely sense mechanical motion can be harnessed to detect otherwise unmeasurable physical phenomena. The Barclay lab invents new types of optomechanical device to probe nanoscale condensed matter systems.

hBN nanophotonics:
2D materials have the potential to advance approaches for building quantum sensors and quantum communication devices. Barclay lab members are working to realise photonic devices from these emerging materials.


Paul Barclay completed his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2007, where he performed early experiments in nonlinear optics with high-Q silicon photonic crystal cavities. In 2008 he joined Hewlett Packard Labs, in Palo Alto, California, where he helped establish the emerging field of diamond quantum nanophotonics. His undergraduate degree is in Engineering Physics from UBC, where he received the APEGBC Gold Medal.

Since starting his lab at the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology at the University of Calgary 2011, he has performed pioneering research in the field of diamond photonics, spin-optomechanics, and in nanophotonic quantum sensors.
His group’s impact was recognized in 2019 by the Herzberg Medal for early career researchers from the Canadian Association of Physicists, and in 2017 by an NSERC Discovery Accelerator award. He is a former AITF Scholar and has led two major CFI Innovation Fund projects as well as NSERC and Alberta Innovated Strategic Research Projects. His group members, who also work at the NRC Nanotechnology Research Centre in Edmonton, have won numerous awards, including a Governor General's Gold Medal.

Full Publication List

For a full list of publications, presentations and documents visit:


  • Herzberg Medal (Canadian Associate of Physicists)
  • NSERC Discover Accelerator Supplement
  • Faculty of Science Early Career Research Award
  • JILA Visiting Fellow
  • University of Calgary Peak Scholar Award
  • GREAT Supervisor Award (3 times)
  • APEGBC Gold Medal



  • PhD - Applied Physics
    California Institute of Technology, 2007
  • MSc - Applied Physics
    California Institute of Technology, 2003
  • BASc - Engineering Physics
    University of British Columbia, 2001


  • 2011 - Alberta Innovates Technology Futures Scholar Award - Alberta Innovates
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